produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #58 (Wednesday 8/29/01) click here for a printable version of this episode
same day - October 1935


THE CALLISON HOME - CHARLES' BEDROOM

2210 Elmwood Ln., Albanyville, ILFrancis Callison"Oh, Charles," Francis Callison sighed as she fought to keep her voice from cracking with emotion.  She took the picture of her husband off of the dresser and then pulled it close to her chest.  "Where did it all go wrong?  What's happened to us?"

Tears began to well up in her eyes as she thought of how her life had changed.  "I loved you so much the day I walked down that isle and said those vows to you.  I promised to love, honor, and cherish you until the day that I died.  I never broke that promise...I never will."

Tears began to stream down her face as her emotions began to break free.  "Oh, Charles, I  love you so much.  Why...why did you have to ruin everything?  Why can't you break free from that witch Annabelle?  If you'd only forget about her, I'd forgive you.  I'd forgive everything!  If only you'd stop this foolishness with her, we could put our marriage back together again."

Francis continued to hold the picture of Charles to her chest as she sobbed.  Little did she know that her husband had come home early and was standing in the doorway of their bedroom, listening to every word.


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DANE & SARA'S APARTMENT - EXTERIOR HALLWAY

343 Anderson Ln. Apt. #1, Albanyville, ILSara Manchester stood in the hallway, her hands still shaking as Helga Grimm's accusations echoed inside her head.  Helga had accused Sara of being responsible for the death of Helga's employer Thornton Preston.  Of course, Sara knew that she hadn't been directly responsible, but indirectly?  Could Sara's lies and deceptions have resulted in enough stress to have actually killed Mr. Preston?  As her mind dwelt on those thoughts, she opened the front door to find another, equally disturbing site.  Her husband Dane was home!

"Why is it that you're never here if I come home in the afternoons?" Dane asked as he turned around in his chair to face her.

"I-I have classes, too," she stammered as she watched him closely.

He was seated at his desk and, once again, going over their financial records.  It was something he seemed to be doing every chance he got.  Surely, he wasn't realizing that their newfound financial stability wasn't logical.  Was he growing suspicious as to where all of their extra money was coming from?

"I know your class schedule, Sara."  Dane turned back around and began to focus on his ledger.  "Your last class is finished way before mine is.  Where do you spend your time?  I know it's not with Stephanie.  Are you still window shopping?"

Sara Manchester"Um...yes!  I...I've been window shopping."  She hung her jacket on the hook by the door and sat her purse down on the sofa and casually strolled over to his desk.  "Lerner's has some beautiful things."

"You are such a daydreamer," he sighed as he shook his head.  "You know we can't afford any of those things!  We can barely afford to pay bills and put me through college."

"But we are doing that, Dane!"  Sara gently put her hand on his arm and peered over his shoulder.  She just had to see what he was working on in his ledger.

"I still haven't figured that one out."  He shook his head slightly and then squinted his eyes.  It had seemed like he'd been pouring over the numbers every chance he'd gotten.  Still, he couldn't figure out how they were managing to make ends meet.  It just wasn't logical.  "Sara, there's no way we could have this much money!"

"But, Dane, we've been working so hard to budget our money."  And she'd been working so hard to alter his books so that he wouldn't find out that she'd secretly taken a job to help with their bills.  "We haven't spent frivolously.  I've been doing everything that I can to pinch pennies...you've been trying to put in extra hours at the printing plant..."

"Yes, dear, I know!"  He strummed his fingers along the desk as he eyed the numbers in the ledger intently.  "But, it still doesn't add up!  I know how much money I'm making at the plant.  It's not enough!"

Sara fidgeted nervously and bit her lip.  Dane was getting suspicious.  However, with Mr. Preston dead, she was now out of work.  He couldn't find out about her job now that she didn't have one!

Dane Manchester"Do you know anything about the extra money?"  He eyed her suspiciously.  Dane really didn't understand how Sara could know anything about it, but, at this point, he was grasping at straws.  If he didn't know anything about it, she was the only one that could!

"I...um...no, Dane.  What could I possibly know about it?"

Her hesitance was not lost on him.  Sara had never been a good liar and she certainly wasn't improving anytime soon!  She was clearly hiding something.  Dane was sure of it.  But what?

He noted the time on the clock and realized that he had to be at work soon.  "Sara, I've got to go."  He kept his eyes locked on her.  "We'll continue this discussion later."

"Of course, darling," she cooed, trying to throw him off.  "I'm as eager to understand this as you are."

Dane responded to her with silence and grabbed his coat and hat before heading out the door.  Why didn't he believe her?  Why did he suspect that his wife was up to much more than she claimed?


THE CALLISON HOME - CHARLES' BEDROOM

2210 Elmwood Ln., Albanyville, IL"Francis."  Charles Callison's voice announced his presence to his wife and her body tensed up and the sound of him.  "W-what were you talking about?"

"Oh, I was just...I was just getting some things I left behind and I ran across some old pictures."  She kept her back to him as she quickly dried her eyes and swallowed her nervousness.  Had he heard her professions of love?  Did he realize how much she still wanted him?

"That's not all of it."  He walked up behind her and gently put his hand on her shoulder.  "I heard you.  I heard what you..."

"You didn't hear anything," she laughed nervously as she tried to hide her true feelings.  "Well, anything other than the ramblings of an old fool caught up in memories of the past.  Look at this picture."  She pulled out a photograph of Maggie's first birthday party.  "Remember that?  That poor girl had frosting from ear to ear!"

"Yes, I remember her landing face first in the middle of the cake."  He chuckled as the warmth of the memory flooded over him.  They'd had so many happy times together.  It had been a house filled with so much love.

"And then here's one of Trevor on his first bicycle!"  Francis sighed wistfully as she looked at the picture of the little boy that was now her grown son.  "I must have kissed a thousand boo-boos that summer."  She looked up at him and noticed the deep lines of worry and stress on his face.  "Charles, are you alright?  You seem like something's troubling you?"

"Thornton Preston died," he muttered as he sat down on the bed next to her.  "It...it all happened rather suddenly.  I guess all of this squabbling over his contract was for nothing.  I can't help but feel that all of this stress contributed in some way to his death."

"Charles, you can't think like that!"  Francis covered his hand with hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze.  "Mr. Preston's health was something you had no way of knowing.  You couldn't have done anything differently."

Charles CallisonHe nodded silently at the logic of her statement.  He couldn't have acted differently.  He'd treated Thornton just like he would have treated any other troublesome author.  Suddenly, his mind returned to thoughts of the scene he'd witnessed as he'd stood in the doorway.

"Francis, before I came in...before you knew I was here....I heard you talking."  He hesitated for a moment, unsure as to what to say next.  "W-would you really forgive me for what I've done with Annabelle?"

"Do we have to get into a discussion about her?"  She quickly pulled her hand away, shot up from the bed, and moved across the room to stare out of the window onto the street below.  "Why must every conversation we have revolve around that woman?"

"Because Annabelle Lake is a part of our lives, now."  He kept his eyes on Francis and carefully watched her every movement and gesture.

"Trust me.  I haven't forgotten that!"

"Francis..."  Charles' voice trailed off as a million thoughts collided inside his head.  There, in that moment, it almost seemed like time had stood still.  The events of the last six months had never happened.  He'd never betrayed his wife with another woman and she'd never left him and their home.  Before speaking again, he took a deep breath.  "Francis, do you still love me?"

"Oh, Charles, how could I not love you?"  She turned around to face him as her eyes began to mist over with tears.  "After all these years...after all that we've shared together...how could I not still love you?"

"Could you..."  He paused.  "Could you forgive me for what's happened with Annabelle?  Could you forgive me for betraying you with another woman?"

Annabelle Lake.  The name rung like a death toll in Francis' ears as visions of her laughing, wicked face flashed in her mind.  Charles had broken their vows and betrayed her with the most wicked of women.  As that thought struck her, Francis' teeth clinched and her muscles tensed.  "I don't think I could ever forget all of the pain you've caused me."

"But could you forgive me?"

"I...I..."  She looked away from him.  Oh, how she wanted to forgive him.  She wanted to rush into his arms and cover his face with kisses.  She wanted to...but she couldn't.  "No, Charles.  I don't think I could ever forgive what you've done to me!"

"B-but I'm sorry..."

Francis Callison"Sorry?"  Slowly, she began to grow angry.  "Sorry?  Sorry for bringing that awful woman into our home?  Sorry for making me the laughing stock of all of Albanyville?  Sorry for making me the constant topic of gossip and ridicule?"

"Francis, please..."

"No!  How dare you beg me to give you absolution when all you seem intent on doing is running around with that tramp and making a mockery of me!  You deliberately try to hurt and humiliate me!  How in god's name am I supposed to forgive that?"

"Now, wait a second!"  Charles bolted from the bed as his blood pressure began to rise.  "How dare you play the martyr in all of this!  Saint Francis can do no wrong!  Saint Francis is perfect and she alone can pass judgment!  Annabelle has nothing to do with the problems between us.  How dare you talk about her as if she were common gutter trash."

"I call a spade a spade."  Her lips tightened into a thin line as she glared at him.  "That witch needs to fly off on her broomstick and never be heard from again!"

"I don't ever want to hear you talk about Annabelle that way again!"

"Don't worry, Charles," she shouted as she pushed past him and headed for the door, "if I have things my way, you'll never have to hear another word out of my mouth again!"